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Starting a side hustle when you’re still in highschool (or middle school) can be one of the best decisions you will make in your life. 

I strongly believe that running a business or even just starting one will kickstart your skills and career for the future. 

Everyone starts side hustles for different reasons. 

Some for money. 

Some for freedom. 

Some for fun. 

But as a teenager, a business should be started solely for the purpose of learning.

The skills you pick up in your journey starting a business will be unlike any other the other skills you pick up through a job. 

From sales and negotiation to technical skills such as programming and marketing, there are so many things to learn. 

(so don’t expect us to suggest you to do crappy surveys for 10 hours so you can earn $5) 

Rather than solely focus on the amount of money you can make, this list will dive into more on the skills you can pick up. But don’t worry, if you’re still interested in the sort of dough you can pick up, we touch on that too. 

Web Development 

Web development is an incredibly important and useful skills to have, and best of all, can be applied to any sort of business. As a teenager, you have access to an incredible amount of free resources on web development work, and best of all, 99% of it will be free. 

Platforms such as WordPress will help you get a website set up in no time, and if you do want to learn how to do custom work that requires coding, you can easily play around on a simple website you set up for testing. 

Key features

  • Applicable to any business
  • Coding is an evergreen skill
  • No code options such as wordpress to easily get your foot in the door

Cons

  • As a teenager, you will need to go out of your way to make business for yourself - this will involve necessary sales skills 

Potential Earnings 

If you’re using wordpress to simply theme up a website for a business without code, then you can charge starting at $1000, and depending on the content the business needs and the level of customisation, it can go up to $2000 or $3000. 

If you’re doing custom work for the clients such as building a custom tool and requires coding, then you can charge a premium starting around $5000. 

Graphic Design 

Graphic design is equally an important skill to learn whilst you’re a teenager and can divulge into the complications of photoshop in all your spare time.

Although graphic design is somewhat common these days, especially since platforms such as Fiverr or Upwork has made it so cheap and accessible for businesses to hire offshore talent at a fraction of the cost, many may argue the graphic design market is somewhat saturated. 

However, I don’t necessarily believe this, because graphic design is simply the core skill. Sure, businesses can find cheap designers offshore, but if you’re able to offer consulting or strategy behind your designs, then you can still be valuable. 

That said, as a teenager, you need to have your fundamentals right first and start designing anything you can come across. From brochures to logos, anything to get you worked up on Photoshop will help prime your design eye for the future. 

Key features

  • Applicable to any business
  • Designers with a strategic outlook will always be needed 
  • Photoshop is now available on a monthly subscription at an affordable rate. 

Cons

  • Dealing with egos - Working in the creative field, you’re going to meat people that will think they are experts even though they know nothing. You will need to stick to your designs (to an extent) and make sure you have reasoning behind it. 

Potential Earnings

Graphic designers usually quote by the hour. As a beginner, you’re going to be charging around $10 to $20 an hour for your work, so for example, if somebody asks you to design a logo for their new business, then you can charge them 5 hours of your time, so around $100 is a fair rate.  

Copywriting 

Writing is another skill that is incredibly useful and only as I’ve gotten older, have I seen the importance of writing. In the online world, there exists a type of writing with the sole goal of getting people to take action (usually to buy). 

Unlike what you learn in your english class, in copywriting, your sentences don’t need to be long. They don’t need to contain complex words. But it does need to tell a story and sell to a reader. 

With this skill, everything you do in the future, from flirting on Tinder to writing a resume or a sales pitch will be on a completely different level to the novice writer. 

(ok, maybe that Tinder bit was a stretch, while I could write amazing Facebook ads copy, my Tinder game was still weak.) 

Key features

  • Important life skill 
  • Applicable to all businesses
  • Evergreen skill (words will still be how we communicate for years to come) 

Cons

  • Early on, as just a copywriter, you may find it hard making money or finding jobs for it. But don’t let that deter you, reach out to local marketing agencies and ask them if you can help out and create a role for you. 

Potential Earnings

The potential earnings for the average copyrighter if you get a job will be around $60 to $70k. No that this is bad, but the ones in the industry that make it big, are the ones that can pinpoint (and prove) their copy will make a direct impact to the bottom line of a business. 

If they can show that their copy can make a business an extra $10 million a year through email marketing, the business can justry paying the copyright $1 million from that. 

Lead Generation Paid Ads 

One of the most awesome things these days is that people can help businesses from anywhere in the world. 

One thing that businesses all in common need - is more leads. 

Traditionally, businesses would just open up a shop and expect people to come and buy. But the online world doesn’t work like that. Not only do you need a website, but you need to actively work to get leads coming in. 

One of the most popular strategies for businesses is to advertise on Google and Facebook to generate leads. 

Of course, most business owners themselves aren’t savvy with Google or Facebook in the first place, let along manage ads on the platforms. 

This is the perfect role for you if you know your platforms already, and would like a role where you can help a business impact the bottom line directly. 

Key features

  • You can help any business 
  • You need a combination of skills to be successful: ad design, copywriting, ad management etc 
  • Training available directly from the platforms themselves, Google has Google Skillshop and Facebook has Facebook Blueprint all for free. 

Cons

  • In paid advertising, you are dealing with sizable amounts of money. Clients will spend upwards of $50 a day on their campaigns, equating to $1500 a month. You need to ensure you generate leads for them, otherwise you can end up damaging their business. 

Potential Earnings

At the start, you can charge of small retainer of around $500, which would include everything from setting up the ads to managing them. Once you get more skills, you can gradually move up your management fee to around $1000. 

You can also charge a base management fee to cover your hours spent, and also a bonus per lead generated. That way, the client will see that you’re motivated to generate more leads. 

Final Thoughts

To wrap it up, as a teenager even though you don’t have the skills compared to older competitors out there, you have the benefit of time on your side. Use the opportunity of working online and offer a valuable service to businesses to add fuel to further project your career. 

Sure, the ideas we suggested are a lot harder than doing surveys online and walking your neighbour's dog, but by learning a technical skill like this, you can secure your future (literally) by having a skill that you can make money off of.